The players and officials coming to the state capital for the upcoming Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup are subjected to RT-PCR tests every 72 hours, a senior sports department official said Saturday. An average of 500 tests are performed and on the same day reports are generated by ICMR’s Regional Medical Research Center (RMRC), Bhubaneswar. “Every 72 hours, every person, including players, officials, hotel staff and staff involved in the event, is retested,” said R Vineel Krishna, Odisha’s sports and youth service secretary.
The tournament is scheduled to be held from November 24 to December 5.
Krishna said that the state administration is doing everything possible to prepare for the smooth running of the matches, Krishna said: “We are working to make this international sporting event safe, secure and memorable for the junior hockey players who came here with great dreams .”
Given the numerous challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the event officials led by the organizing committee tried to put together a flawless system of testing and detection for an incident-free event, he said.
He said designated department officials personally oversee the entire functioning, while also ensuring that no one misses the 72-hour cycle, he said, adding that testing, tracking and passing records is challenging.
“We will ensure that this process is implemented smoothly in accordance with training and match schedules and according to the convenience. It should not be an overwhelming experience for the players,” the sports secretary said.
Tests have been intensified since November 15, when the international teams began arriving. A unit of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) together with one of Capital Hospital is stationed for sample collection, at various hotels where players are accommodated. A total of 12 units were deployed.
Upon arrival at the airport, the players are taken to their respective hotels where the test team with PPE set tests each incoming player and official.
Apart from that, countermeasures are also in place in case any incident is reported. Bhubaneswar was one of the first city to be vaccinated 100 percent, so there is some relief there, he said.
Several teams, including India, Germany, Poland, Belgium, the USA, Canada, South Africa, the Netherlands, have already arrived in Bhubaneswar before the tournament, and few more will show up in the next few days, he said.
This is the third time that India is hosting the prestigious tournament, which took place in New Delhi in 2013 and in Lucknow in 2016. A total of sixteen nations will participate in the event.
Hosts and defending champions, India, were grouped along with Canada, France and Poland in Pool B.
The other teams in the battle include Belgium, Malaysia, South Africa and Chile in Pool A; The Netherlands, Spain, Korea and the United States are grouped in Pool C, while Germany, Argentina, Pakistan and Egypt are in Pool D.
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